DESIGNING YOUR OWN WEBSITE

Vicky Vickers

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
So, you've acquire an Internet account, cruised around, looked at all the neat things people are doing with their websites and decided that you would like to have one of your very own. But where and how to start?

The first step is to ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) a few questions. First, do they allow you to have a website without charging an extra fee? Second, what is the default name for your primary (or first) page? Can you upload your pages using an FTP program? If so, what is the path to your personal World Wide Web (WWW) site?

Most ISPs call the default page "homepage.html", but some call it "index.html". As example of how a default page works, the default primary page for VMUG's ISP is "homepage.html". This means that you can access it by typing in http://www.islandnet.com/~vmug, "vmug" being our login name. You don't have to type in "homepage.html" as that is the first thing that the server will look for in our WWW site. If I had called our primary page "vmug.html", then you would have to type in http://www.islandnet.com/~vmug/vmug.html. By using the default name for your primary page, you are saving people keystrokes. Also, if they know your e-mail address, they may be able guess what your website address is. VMUG's e-mail address is vmug@islandnet.com. If you compare the two addresses you can see where they match and get a good idea of how the address system works.

Next you need to think about what you would like the focus of your page to be. Is it to be purely personal, or hobby or business orientated? What sort of information would you like to put on it? What graphics would you like? Do you have or want a logo?

If your website is business orientated, then you need to "give" something away - information that will change, or change and grow as time goes on. This will keep people coming back to your page and therefore keep you in mind when they need your products or services. You should also have a good look at what your competitors are doing on their websites.

After you have decided on a basic look and focus for your website, you need to download a good HTML editing software program. For the Macintosh, I suggest HTML Editor, which you can find at http://dragon.acadiau.ca/~giles/HTML_Editor/Documentation.html (boy that's a long one!). You can even print the webpage and get full instructions with illustrations. This is a semi-wysiwyg editor which is quite easy to use even for beginners.

TIP
When designing your website remember KISS - Keep It Short and Simple. The average web browser doesn't want to wait much more than 10 seconds to load. If it takes too long to load, they will stop it and go elsewhere.

Acknowledgements
This article was published in the March 1996 issue of the Victoria Macintosh Users Group's monthly newsletter "MACtalk" in Vicky's monthly article "VMUG On-Line" and in the Summer 1996 issue of the Web Enthusiasts Association of Victoria's quarterly on-line newsletter.

Vicky Vickers is the owner of Word Crunchers, Etc. which specializes in website design and HTML training. She is a past-president (1994-6) and former webmaster (1995-8) of Victoria Macintosh Users Group (VMUG). She also founded and was the first president (1996) of the Web Enthusiasts Association of Victoria (WEAV).

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Call me today at 250-595-6593 to discuss your website design
or e-mail me at vicky@crunchers.bc.ca

Vicky Vickers, Word Crunchers, Etc.
3290 Shelley Street, Victoria, BC, V8P 4A5
Fax: 250-595-7384 (call first)


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